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Reward Barking

Reward Your Dog for Not Barking!

You can use positive reinforcement to teach your dog not to bark inappropriately! When your dog stops barking, give her some food, a toy, or another object or activity that he likes. This reward, given over time, will stimulate him to stop barking inappropriately.

There are two types of positive reinforcement: primary reinforcement and secondary reinforcement. Primary reinforcement includes the things your dog wants and is motivated to get, such as food, playing, and attention. Secondary reinforcement is a positive verbal signal, such as you saying “good” or “good dog.” Secondary reinforcement tells the dog, in the exact moment, that she has done something right.

To encourage your dog to behave, tell him “good” at the precise moment that he does something right, and then give him a reward. Your dog will learn to associate the primary with the secondary reinforcement, which will allow you to better express your satisfaction with the dog’s behavior.

When you begin to train your dog, secondary reinforcement must always be followed by primary reinforcement. After a few weeks, once the dog is barking less, you won’t need to reward with a treat every single time the dog is quiet. You will be able to gradually use secondary reinforcement more than primary.

It is up to you to see what kind of reward your dog likes best. If your dog is food-motivated, then you can feed her a little less at meal time, and save some of those calories for teaching moments. If your dog loves to play fetch, then you can play fetch with him as primary reinforcement.

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